Alright this is a NaNoWriMo tip that probably would have been useful earlier in the month, but we’ve only just learned that some NaNoWriMo competitors are doing this and we felt we had to say something.
To win NaNoWriMo you have to write 50,000 words. No-one checks what exactly those words. All that matters is that you have 50,000 collections of letters. If you want to cheat and just write 50,000 pieces of gobbledygook then you can. Ultimately you’d only be cheating yourself out of your novel.
Another way, that isn’t exactly cheating but certainly is not in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, is to avoid using contractions. For example, the word ‘Don’t’ counts as one word, whereas writing ‘Do Not’ counts as two words. Thus, if a person was inclined, they could slightly up their word count by never using contractions in their novel.
We feel that this is a pretty dubious thing to do (to say the least!). When someone wins NaNoWriMo that’s something to be celebrated. If someone could only win by using these kinds of cheats, then it kinda cheapens that win.
Aside from the unfairness aspect, it is a little silly to avoid contractions. It’s pretty much shooting yourself in the foot.
Contractions are necessary, they help written English flow and sound natural! Just as, sometimes, contractions are to be avoided in order to help flow, or to emphasise/stress something. The point is, if a manuscript doesn’t have any contractions in it then it is going to be fiendishly difficult to edit. Literally hours and hours of work. It is not a simple matter of ‘Find and Replace’ for each instance. Every single sentence is going to have to be read through and edited appropriately.
Please use contractions! It’s not worth winning NaNoWriMo if you have to resort to underhanded means!
Keep writing! You’ve got this.
For all of our NaNoWriMo posts and tips, click here.